Firmino, Coutinho sparkle as Liverpool thrashes Brighton 5-1
BRIGHTON, England (AP) — Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah had a rare quiet day but it didn’t stop Liverpool powering to a 5-1 win at Brighton on Saturday for its biggest victory this season.
Roberto Firmino scored twice while Philippe Coutinho added another goal and set up three as Brighton failed to deal with Liverpool’s ability on the counterattack at the Amex Stadium.
Seventy-nine seconds after Emre Can powered in a header from Coutinho’s corner in the 30th minute, Firmino launched a counterattack with a flick to Salah and finished the move by tapping in Coutinho’s cross to the far post.
Salah has been one of the surprises of the season with a league-high 12 goals in his first year with Liverpool, but he couldn’t score for the fifth league match in succession.
Instead, he had to settle for setting up a goal, the Egypt winger laying off a pass for Firmino to convert at the end of another break sparked by a save by Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Brighton pulled a goal back via a penalty from Glenn Murray but struggled to break down a depleted Liverpool defense, which contained both Can and Georginio Wijnaldum at center back in a five-man back line.
Coutinho rolled a cheeky free kick under the defensive wall and into the net for 4-1 in the 87th, before sending in the shot that Brighton defender Lewis Dunk deflected into his own net to complete the rout.
Liverpool has scored 15 goals in its last four away games in all competitions and is unbeaten in the league since its 4-1 loss at Tottenham on Oct. 22.
The Reds didn’t even need Senegal winger Sadio Mane, who was rested.